The Archbishop in a letter to the priests of the Archdiocese wrote:
‘Although I have circulated the recent government advice on the opening of churches, I want to emphasise that the final decision in this regard is yours. … You have to consider your volunteers and stewards. You also have yourself to consider … Now is the time to make wise decisions for the good of all. As priests I am very aware of how committed you are to your sacred ministry and that you will not leave your people without pastoral care.’
In addition, the following statement was received from Public Health England
‘As Directors of Public Health representing Lancashire, we are strongly advising all faith communities to pause communal prayer and worship during the lockdown period, to reduce the possible spread of the new Covid variant. We recognise that this is a big request, but it will help to protect our communities at this critical stage of the pandemic. While we can't require our faith communities to do this, we are asking everyone to make this temporary change to protect each other. You have already made changes to your worship arrangements, but we are asking for caution at this difficult and concerning time. We're seeing increasing numbers of cases in Lancashire, and worrying increases in the number of people hospitalised from Covid, as well as increasing numbers of deaths'.
In the light of these comments and the rising number of cases over 50,000 each day and over 1,000 deaths a number of priests in the deanery have decided to suspend public worship from Monday the 11th of January, until the virus’s impact starts to fall, and the vaccine has started to be more readily available, we hope in the near future. This was a difficult decision to take but we feel it is the right thing to do and will be reviewed in 2 weeks’ time.
CHURCH CLOSURE UPDATE
In view of the number of Covid19 infections being still so high (both new infections and deaths), those churches that are currently closed will remain closed and the situation will be reviewed in another two weeks time. We thank you for your understanding and ask for your prayers.
Masses will continue to be LiveStreamed at the advertised times.
Mon/Wed/Fri - 8:30am Tues/Thurs/Sat - 10:00am
Devotions will continue to take place on Tuesdays and Thursdays 1:00pm - 2:00pm
God Bless you and your families at this difficult time